50 dead in 4 states; IMD says normalcy by Friday

ANJALI MARAR
"The worst is almost over. There will be a significant reduction in activity from tomorrow. By Friday it will all be over," said head of services at IMD, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra.

The worst of severe weather events - thunderstorms, dust storms and rainfall - over northern and northwestern parts of the country is already over, and the situation would return to normal by Friday, the India Meteorological Department said on Wednesday. Around 50 people have died in four states so far, including 25 in Rajasthan.

Several parts of the country, including Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi, and some areas in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, had seen intensive thunderstorms and lightning events over the last two days.

"The worst is almost over. There will be a significant reduction in activity from tomorrow. By Friday it will all be over," said head of services at IMD, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra.

Meteorologists said the events were triggered by the western disturbance which had caused significant turbulence in the region over Saudi Arabia and Iran before entering the Indian subcontinent. On Wednesday, this western disturbance lay over north Pakistan as a cyclonic circulation.

"It is a severe weather system covering a large spatial extent, so much so, that its affect was felt all the way in Maharashtra. It is the most intense western disturbance reported since January this year," said M Rajeevan, secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences.

An event of this magnitude, as per IMD officials, was building up over the past few days. The IMD had warned about the event on Sunday. It had said the western disturbance which then lay over Iran was likely to move across Afghanistan and Pakistan over northwest India between April 15 and 17, and induce a cyclonic circulation, that could result in thunder and squall, with wind speeds reaching 60-70 kmph, in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi.

Meteorologists said there was heating along the northwestern regions since the start of this month. Further, two cyclonic circulations hovered over central Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, respectively, which when combined with the hot conditions, triggered the extreme weather event on Tuesday.